The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Groped

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 9

    Groped

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 12

    Falls

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 9

    Hypothermia